Evidence of meeting #27 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Paul Glover  President, Shared Services Canada
Matt Davies  Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Shared Services Canada

April 28th, 2021 / 5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline Desbiens Bloc Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Glover, I agree with my colleague, we're very grateful to you for being with us and giving us your time.

I understand that there are major security issues. I'd like to come back to security clearances. That may be where the solution lies. We are looking for solutions. You say that you don't always know how many people around you are authorized to read the reports.

Could you send us a list of names or the number of people who have had access to the full unredacted report?

5:25 p.m.

President, Shared Services Canada

Paul Glover

Thank you, Mr. Chair, for the member's question.

I am unable to provide an exact number.

The principle here is to make sure that only those who need this information have it. Only those who need it to conduct their day-to-day responsibilities would be privy to this information.

That goes back to that question about the drywaller and others. They would be appropriately security cleared, vetted and indoctrinated in order to be able to interact with this information, or with the data centre. For anybody involved in this, it is because it is a job function.

5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline Desbiens Bloc Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Thank you for your response.

Would it be possible to have a list, even if it is not comprehensive? It would be interesting to see who has access to the report and who doesn't. Given that it contains sensitive information, did Gartner Canada employees need to get security clearance to read it?

5:25 p.m.

President, Shared Services Canada

Paul Glover

I will be happy to undertake to provide a full response in terms of both Gartner and within SSC.

I have a principle today.... I understand that the question is looking for something more precise, so I will undertake to provide that.

5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline Desbiens Bloc Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

As members of Parliament, could we not get security clearance in the same way as Gartner Canada? After all, we are elected officials who make up a restricted committee.

Could that be a solution?

5:25 p.m.

President, Shared Services Canada

Paul Glover

I would have to consult with counsel on that.

One of the things I was advised on was that, if I were to disclose this report, even in camera, it would be a disclosure and I would be in breach. There are some challenges there that I would have to consult further with counsel on.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Thank you, Mr. Glover.

We'll now go to Mr. Green for two and a half minutes.

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

My friend and our guest from the Bloc raised a line of questioning that I also wish to pursue.

Through you, Mr. Chair, to Mr. Glover, you mentioned that it is not often the case that you have this type of process in place in terms of requiring this type of security.

I'm wondering. How is it then, given the sensitive nature of this, that you wouldn't have a more precise account of who would have had access to this? That seems like a material piece of information for somebody in your position.

5:25 p.m.

President, Shared Services Canada

Paul Glover

I apologize. Somebody said this is not something that happens normally. We are dealing with sensitive information, sensitive systems, all the time. Every department works with some degree—

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

To be clear, this is cabinet confidentiality, used in a proactive way, that would preclude members of Parliament not having access but that members of his department would have access.

Knowing that it's that sensitive, how would Mr. Glover not have a precise account for who would have access to this information? I find that very challenging.

5:25 p.m.

President, Shared Services Canada

Paul Glover

I want to be very clear that I have a sense that you have asked for precise numbers.

I have these conversations with members of my direct management team, who have certain obligations and indoctrination that I am very clear on, and I trust that they have conversations relative to the functioning of their responsibility consistent with those delegations and their obligations. However, that prevents me from speculating and giving you the complete number.

I can speak to you about my number of direct reports, but I would have to canvass them about what they have done within their chain of command. However, I have every confidence—

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

But you wouldn't know.

5:30 p.m.

President, Shared Services Canada

Paul Glover

I have every confidence that they would uphold their responsibilities.

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Would Cisco have received this report in its entirety, unredacted?

5:30 p.m.

President, Shared Services Canada

Paul Glover

No.

Mr. Chair, I apologize for the directness of—

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

What level of security clearance would Gartner have to have received to get the information it needed in order to make this report?

5:30 p.m.

President, Shared Services Canada

Paul Glover

I'll have to confirm what exactly the security requirements were, and I will happily provide that in writing. I can speculate now, but I want to provide a very precise answer to the member's question.

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Thank you, Mr. Green.

Thank you, Mr. Glover, for offering to provide that in writing. We appreciate your sending that to the clerk.

We'll now go to Ms. Harder, for five minutes.

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

I would like to turn it over to my colleague, Mr. McCauley. He had a good line of questions.

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

I think Mr. Paul-Hus is going to start off.

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Robert Gordon Kitchen

Mr. Paul-Hus, please proceed.

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Good afternoon, Mr. Glover. Thank you for being here.

Here is my first question: Why did you award all the contracts to Cisco, taking away any opportunity for the federal government to diversify?

5:30 p.m.

President, Shared Services Canada

Paul Glover

I would refer to the material I provided. We do not put all of the contracts in Cisco's hands. In fact, even when we procure Cisco equipment, it is not through direct relationships with Cisco. It is done either through a competitive process or a mini-competitive process with people who have prequalified to provide that type of equipment. It always goes through what we would describe as a reseller.

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

The National Post reports that the Networks, Security and Digital Services Branch has awarded $210 million to Cisco.

Of that amount, how much was awarded without a bidding process?

5:30 p.m.

President, Shared Services Canada

Paul Glover

In the documents I provided, on pages 11 through 15, you will see all of the different vendors, what we inherited and, over time, how that has evolved. It depends on the nature of the network, and which piece of it we are talking about, to see which portion Cisco has provided, more or less, over time as we move forward. That was all in full detail in the documents that were provided to the committee.